Bike Writer

Stephanie Hunt

May 18th is Bike to Work Day, but in fact, everyday that I get to ride is a “bike to work day” for me: a bike writer. Not that I’m always or even often writing about riding (though sometimes I do, for example, here), but I almost always find that the muse meets me part way down the road when I’m out for an early morning or late afternoon spin to the islands or along less-traveled roads through the Francis Marion Forest.


For me, that skinny black seat on my skinny-tired bike is one of my best desk chairs. It’s where my mind frees up from to-dos and slips into more playful freewheeling.  The repetition of pedal strokes and the rhythm of breathing coax me into fresh imaginative territory, or loosen treasures of memory, sensory nuggets buried beneath quotidian rigamarole.  My riding body connects with my writing mind and my creative muscle gets a little workout.


It would help if I could remember the brilliant ideas I had at mile nine by the time I roll back home at mile 29, but sometimes it’s enough just to know they bubbled up, ever so fleetingly.



So today, I encourage everyone to Bike to Work, or to bike simply for the sheer joy of feeling wind in your face and fatigue in your quads. For the pleasure of seeing your surroundings from a two-wheeled perspective, of connecting to the sights,  sounds, smells of your environment at a human, slow speed scale– something that’s very hard to do behind the wheel of a car.


As Walt Whitman wrote in Songs of the Open Road:


From this hour, freedom!


From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines,


Going where I list, my own master, total and absolute,


Listening to others, and considering well what they say,


Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,


Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me.


I inhale great draughts of space;


The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine.


I am larger, better than I thought;


I did not know I held so much goodness.



And then be sure to bring some of that goodness to celebrate with other Charleston bike-friendly proponents at the “Work to Bike” Party tonite at the Hippodrome, where Satellite Rodeo will be serving up live music, New Belgium will serve up good brew, D’Allesandros will serve up hot ‘Za, and bike riders and writers alike will serve up good vibes, 2-wheeled karma, and “great draughts of space” where you, too, might meet the Muse.